Close working relationship leads to repeat Sandvik business from leading Queensland crushing operation
An excellent working relationship with Sandvik Construction technical sales and support people has resulted in a leading quarrying and crushing operator in central Queensland recently making a repeat purchase of a second Sandvik crusher.
In 2009, Central Queensland Quarries upgraded its main Fairview Quarry fixed crushing plant, adding a Sandvik CH 430 secondary crusher to its existing primary crusher, and late in 2014 added a Sandvik CV 216 VSI (vertical shaft impactor) tertiary crusher. The three-stage plant has an output of 150 tonnes/hour across a range of general aggregates and roadbase.
The company, which operates throughout Central Queensland, primarily around the Banana/Rockhampton/ Central Highlands council regions, provides a range of quality sand and aggregate products from its four quarries. Managing director Ian Robinson said the company's customers include local councils in the region, civil contractors and mining companies, processing materials for use on main roads and infrastructure projects, which account for around 70% of its work, as well as mining, oil and gas project works.
While most of Central Queensland Quarries' operations are based around mobile crushing and screening units, its Fairview fixed plant uses the two Sandvik crushing units to deliver high-specification products to meet demand for increasing quality aggregates. According to Ian, the Fairview plant was inherited from another operation, and was experiencing a number of production and efficiency issues.
"Back in 2009, we had some real issues with working out whether to scrap this plant and start again, or revamp it and change some of the operation, so we could be more efficient," he said. "The problem with the older gear is not so much the fact that it breaks down, because sometimes you can fix that, but is more to do with inefficiencies and the cost of labour. "Often by using inefficient machines you're just not really getting anywhere," said Ian.
At the time, the plant was based around a still productive primary jaw crusher, and an aging secondary crusher. "We started working with Frank Grech from Sandvik to see what the upgrade options for our plant were, particularly considering we were working to a fairly tight budget," he said. "Together with Frank, we worked on where the main bottleneck areas were, and then looked to them to help us come up with solutions for replacing certain plant items with more reliable units.
"Frank took a very practical approach, and suggested I visit a very similarsized plant in Nyngan. Operationally, it was very similar to what we were doing, and they'd been faced with many of the same issues in innovating and upgrading their plant." "Because it was such a similar situation, Frank identified that it would help us with our decision-making; from what we saw there, we knew the end result would work, and it was a very practical way of looking at the problem."
As a result of this, in 2009 Ian purchased a Sandvik CH 430 cone crusher as its secondary crushing unit, at the same time upgrading the plant's belt sizes, surge bins and other items to handle the new unit's output.
"Initially, we thought we might have a problem with the shape of the product coming out of the CH 430 – because, with the bulk of our sales being for roadbase product, shape was a critical factor," Ian said. "However, we had no dramas at all in that regard when we first put it in.
"We've been very happy with that crusher over the past six year; on a scale of one to 10, I'd put it up at nine," he said. "It's a new, modern machine with some innovative controls on it, but it still operates just like a lot of the older crushers in that once you've got it set up correctly, it just keeps going." More recently however, the local construction industry began to upgrade its standards so that, while the CH 430 was producing material within specifications, it was at the bottom end of the required specs.
VERY COMPETITIVE MARKET
"We started to see that our products wasn't as good as we needed it to be; it's a very competitive market, and people will use any small areas where you may not be as good as you should be against you," said Ian. "We realised we had to do somethingabout this, and decided we needed to bring in a VSI unit and Sandvik was an obvious choice because we'd worked with them before."
Late in 2014, Central Queensland Quarries purchased a Sandvik CV 216 VSI as its tertiary crusher and according to Ian, his relationship with Sandvik and Frank Grech was instrumental in making this decision. "It comes back to positive feedback, and being open and honest with each other," he said. "When we started talking to Frank and the Sandvik people about putting in a VSI crusher, they identified the right-sized machine to go in there, whereas their competitors had recommended a much bigger machine – and the Sandvik team was spot on.
"Frank really knows his business, and he doesn't feed you with stories. "We've worked together for long enough now that I just know when he gives you his opinion, it's the right thing," said Ian. "Not everyone's correct 100% of the time, but I've never had an issue with Frank; there's a high level of trust there."
SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN SANDVIK´S SERVICE
Ian has also seen a significant improvement in Sandvik's service and support in the past couple of years. "About two years ago, they brought in Ben Willcox as their new sales support person. He backs up the product, and you could not wish for a more attentive person if you have problems, whether over the phone or coming out here to investigate if he's not sure."And if we want something from them, it's just a phone call way – and an honest answer. "If they haven't got something in stock, they'll tell us where it is and how long it'll take – and will look at other options if our needs are very urgent," he said.
Central Queensland Quarries' Fairview plant is now set up to produce a wide range of product through any combination of its crusher units, depending on industry needs and particular projects at any one time.
"Sometimes we'll produce road base, then we'll go onto screening. Other times we need to produce some ballast. There's many different demands depending on what projects are going on in the area, and which dictate our production runs and stock levels," he said.
"Those two Sandvik crushers work together as a complete unit very well; it does the hard yards and we are very happy with it."
"They both mesh together very well; Sandvik has quite innovative programs that enable options to be plotted, and see the potential results in achieving different crush sizes or the product you're trying to make. "We can put in our major product line requirements, and these programs then give us the real story on selection of equipment and how it all works together."
THE NEXT STEP
Ian said the next step in the evolution of the Fairview plant would be to upgrade the primary crusher. "It's probably the weak point in the whole unit, and one day in the next couple of years if we get any busier we'll decide its' probably time to look at upgrading it.
"We'll certainly be looking at Sandvik," he said.
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